DREW SHOULDN'T HAVEbeen shocked by the speed in which Blake worked his magic to come up with a list of women, who were not only eligible but actually willing to pretend to be his wife.
Yet he was.
And here he was, sitting in a private office located at MI's campus, perusing dossiers like he was considering properties to buy. In a sense, he was buying something—the right woman's time.
"Too young," he said, eliminating a file, then another. "Redhead."
Blake arched a brow. "You have no taste."
"Stay the hell away from my personal assistant, York." Drew glared at him over the file he held. "She hates you anyway."
"Thanks for the reminder." Blake took the offending file from him and replaced it with another. "This one is a particular favorite of mine."
Drew scanned the contents and couldn't find anything objectionable. "All right. Let's put her on the short list."
"Brilliant. We're up to one name." Blake shot Drew a wry smile. "Would you like to meet her?"
"They're all here." Blake tilted his head from side to side. "Well, the ones who haven't been eliminated are still here."
Drew blinked at him. "Do you mean to say that every time I've passed on someone, they've literally been asked to leave?"
"Basically. Not to worry, though. They've been compensated. Very generously, I might add. You are a giver, mate."
"What the hell did I give them?"
Blake wouldn't meet his direct gaze. He tugged on his ear. "Cars, yacht, future consolation dinner—"
"It wouldn't hurt to have dinner."
"It will hurt because I'll be married to someone else."
"I can make another list for you," Blake offered.
"Don't bother. Send in," he glanced at the file, "Ms. Powers. On paper, she looks like a winner."
A second later, April Powers walked in, a wide smile on her face and a surprisingly modestly-fit dress on her curvy body. She was tall, confident, educated, and incredibly sexy. He could pretend to be married to someone like her. Hell, if she could carry on a conversation with him, he'd pretend to marry her this evening and introduce her to his family tomorrow.
Drew and Blake stood as one.
"Hi, I'm April Powers." She extended her hand and Drew shook it. "Thanks for seeing me on such short notice. It's been a dream of mine to work for Montgomery Industries for years."
"I guess we could view my proposal as a job."
April tossed her hair over her shoulder, still smiling and very friendly. And very ... robotic. She was too perfect looking, too put together. "I know you don't remember meeting me, but your brother and I used to date, back in college. He's the one who encouraged me to contact Mr. York about a job that was coming up. He said it was the opportunity of a lifetime."
Drew's jaw tightened. "Wasn't that helpful of him."
"The only thing—he never said exactly what the job entailed, so I'm hoping you'll be able to share that with me. I'm fully prepared to sign an NDA, first." She smiled again, the perfect façade fading into one that was meant to seduce. "When I worked with him on the charity auction last month, I was at his beck and call. All hours of the night. Days, too. I can be at yours, too, Mr. Montgomery."
Yeah, no. "Thank you so much, Ms. Powers. At this time, I can't reveal more about the opportunity, but rest assured you've made the short list and will be contacted very, very soon." He smacked Blake on the back with more force than he needed, making his friend grunt. "Mr. York, in fact, will be the one to explain everything in detail about the position at MI."
"Right. Exactly." Blake nodded, stepping away from Drew to escort April out of the room. "You'll hear from me soon."
"Thank you for the opportunity," April said, as she left.
As soon as she left, Blake turned, leaning against the wall. "You could've asked her anyway."
"She slept with my brother. William knows that our tastes in women are not only night and day, we don't get involved with each other's exes. He would see right through me."
"Sorry. I had no idea." Blake pushed away from the wall. "Perhaps I should re-check my list to see how many women were recommended by Connor."
Drew moved to the conference table, grabbing a bottle of water from the center. "Good idea. While you're at it, go ahead and send in the last one."
A guilty look entered his friend's eyes. "Um, about that ..."
"What aren't you telling me?"
"Don't kill me, but you're desperate and frankly, you don't have a lot of choices at the moment."
"What did you do, Blake?"
The door opened and his ex-girlfriend walked inside.
He muttered a curse. Alexis George had always been willing, but she'd also never changed from being an unmitigated snob and bitch.
Hell, the woman reveled in it.
"I heard you're in a desperate situation," Alexis said. She peered at him through her lashes, something that he was man enough to admit used to get him going, and started to pout. "I thought you'd be more excited to see me."
"I'm shocked to see you," he admitted.
"That's better than no reaction." She sauntered up to him, fixing his tie and running a hand down the length of the material. "Why don't we go somewhere more private and discuss your situation."
Shit. Had it come to this? Was he so desperate, that he was willing to make a deal with Alexis George? He knew the answer, even if he didn't want to commit to her being the last resort.
"Sure. We'll go to dinner. You pick the place." He grabbed Blake, smacking him on the back again. "Blake will join us."
Alexis's smile didn't falter. She clapped her hands together and said, "Wonderful. I'll text the maître d' to let him know we're on our way."
"Why do I have to be punished?" Blake muttered.
"Because you're the reasons she's here," Drew reminded him.